AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
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FAA was directed by Congress to make a long-term study of Wayports that has never been done. FAA cannot produce any official long-term studies of Wayports. It's tragic that airport expansion opposition groups in Chicago and other locations were not allowed by FAA to evaluate Wayports as an alternative to new runways. They should have been made aware of this history because a Wayport is reasonable and feasible alternative to expanding major hub airports.

FAA SUPPORT FOR WAYPORTS

                                                                                                                                                   
FAA'S OFFICIAL DEFINITION FOR "CONSTRUCT A WAYPORT FACILITY"  APPROVED IN FINAL ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (FEIS) FOR NEW RUNWAYS 16/34 EAST & 16/34 WEST AT D/FW AIRPORT. THIS CONFIRMS FAA OFFICIALLY ENDORSED WAYPORTS AS A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE TO BUILDING NEW RUNWAYS AND IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN ALL NEW PROPOSED RUNWAYS SINCE THEN.
FAA determined Wayports to be a feasible alternative to building new runways at DFW as described below. This was a Federal Court case which makes FAA statements to the Court applicable today. Following italics are exactquotes from FEIS, however it was not-coordinated with the author of Wayports even though he worked for FAA at the time. He disagrees with some sections and his comments follow the FAA definition.  
                                                                                          
"The wayport concept is currently being examined in the aviation community, both public and private, as a long-term solution to existing and projected capacity deficiencies and compatibility problems across the country. The foundation of the concept involves a national system of approximately five or six large hub airports strategically located in rural areas where zoning of adjacent land uses would be strictly limited to noise compatible uses. Each wayport would primarily serve passengers who are connecting to other flights. This concept would theoretically divert aircraft operations associated with airline hubbing from existing congested airports to the new rural wayports.

Proponents believe the concept would effectively relieve airport/airspace capacity problems and reduce airport noise impacts nationwide at a reasonable cost. Opponents of the concept contend that wayports would have limited sources of operating revenue, may be difficult to administer and may likely contribute to growth in the vicinity of the wayport, resulting in congestion and noise problems initially meant to be avoided.

Conceptually, each of these wayports would be used primarily as a location at which passengers and cargo may be transferred between connecting flights or air carriers engaged in air commerce, but it does not prohibit origin-destination (O&D) passengers and, in fact, would seek all kinds of revenue-producing activities.

Each wayport would be intended to serve the air transportation needs of a general region of the country in which the wayport is located, and to reduce congestion of the national air transportation system. It is a concept that would provide nationwide by-pass capability to air transportation as do Interstate Highways for ground transportation.

Wayports are intended to serve all activities that do not have to be located at congested airports including cargo, mail, general aviation, and possibly some O&D passengers. They would be constructed as a secondary set of airports that use essentially unrestricted airspace and inexpensive rural land with no man-made barriers to fight. Adequate inexpensive land needs to be available to ensure needed noise buffer zones and the ability to maintain 24-hour-a-day operations in areas with favorable flying weather, light population density, political acceptance and rail/highway connections.

Conceptually, each wayport would act:

as a domestic transfer passenger hub for other congested airports in its general region of the country or continent;

as an international long-haul passenger transfer airport for its region;

as a national and international transfer airport for cargo, mail, express and small package services.

as an O&D airport for communities within some 75 miles; and

as a centralized major maintenance base.

Wayport development could be staged at each location on an as-needed basis to meet evolving growth, provided that land is set aside for needed future airport capacity and facilities sufficiently large to handle all new generations of aircraft. Land set-asides for these future wayport uses would require consideration of aircraft regardless of size, speed, noise characteristics, or special ground fuel handling such as refrigerated fuels. The wayport concept contemplates planning now for future airports to marshal as much capacity as possible from present day airports.

The FAA is currently studying the wayport concept, with consideration being given to variations of the concept discussed above. The Secretary of Transportation and Administrator of FAA have not formalized their position on this concept, but Federal funds have been provided to study sites considering construction of air carrier airports at new, underutilized and military locations. Whether such sites become wayports is not ripe for decision at this time.

Wayports have been considered as an alternative to the D/FW Airport expansion project. However, such airports are only in the infancy of planning, and knowledge of studies underway is mostly limited to articles in published periodicals. Conceptual planning for wayports in Texas are known to exist in Montague County and Midland. Other known locations considering wayports include Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, North Dakota, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia.

The wayport concept, as applied to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, arguably could have detrimental impacts on the level of air service offered to residents, especially in the area of available non-stop services. Non-stop and frequent service is provided to Metroplex area residents to all major markets in the U.S. primarily due to the large number of connecting passengers using D/FW Airport's hub airlines. International service at D/FW is also heavily dependent and supported by the connecting passenger.If the wayports concept were applied to the region and a remote wayport became the new connecting airport, substantial reductions in non-stop services and international services at D/FW Airport could result. This situation could reduce the attractiveness and competitive advantage the metroplex area currently enjoys for new and expanded business and economic development. Loss of direct employment on the airport could occur.

Even if the wayport is adopted and implemented, the construction of a wayport in the time period necessary to meet existing and projected capacity deficiencies at D/FW Airport is not considered to be a viable solution for the same reasons as mentioned in Section 4.2.1.3. These factors are the cost of such a facility and the amount of time necessary to construct the facility. The cost to construct a wayport is currently estimated to be approximately $1 Billion. The cost to construct runways 16/34 East and 16/34 West, excluding mitigation, is estimated to be 205.5 million. Serious capacity problems would be experienced at D/FW Airport in the 10-year minimum time frame estimated to open a fully operational wayport. In this same time frame, Runway 16/34 East(projected to be opened in 1992), and Runway 16/34 West (projected to be opened in 1997), would already be benefiting the region and the National Aviation System by providing needed capacity at D/FW Airport.

Because the planning efforts for wayports are in their infancy, they are considered not ripe for decision-making at this time. Therefore, it is concluded that wayports are not a viable alternative for further study in the EIS".

AUTHOR OF WAYPORTS COMMENTS CONFIRMING FAA APPROVAL OF FEIS FOR DFW SUPPORTS THE CHARGE THAT FAA HAS NOT COMPLIED WITH FEDERAL LAW IN APPROVING FEIS'S SINCE 1992.

Federal Environmental Law requires airport proponents to look at all reasonable and feasible alternatives or FAA cannot  even review an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for approval. FAA described Wayports as a reasonable and feasible alternativeto the two new runways at DFW in 1992 as shown above. Wayports was not considered viablebecause the new runways could be built quicker at less price but that did not affect the reasonableness or feasibility of Wayports. Wayports were a reasonable and feasible alternative at DFW and should have been included in subsequent EIS's approved for new runways all over the U.S. Merely because an alternative is not viable in one location does not mean it is not
 reasonablefeasible and viable in other locations. Viable depends on magnitude, cost and timing.  

The FEIS says wayports would serve primarily as connecting points and have limited sources of revenue. All hub and spoke airports are used primarilyfor connections with several having connections as high as 70%-80% for years. The FEIS does not define primarilyand what levels of connecting passengers would establish this classification. These airports have prospered with these high percentages of connections which is about where a wayport would initially operate.

Some hub and spoke airports have recently lost all connections or had them reduced due to airline economics. St. Louis and Pittsburgh lost their connecting service. Delta ceased using D/FW as a connecting hub which involved a substantial number of passengers. The FEIS says a wayport would cause a similar reduction but without a wayport, D/FW, STL and PITT still are attractive and financially sound facilities.

The FEIS confirms that Wayports could work based on the comment that says: "If the wayports concept were applied to the region and a remote wayport became the new connecting airport, substantial reductions in non-stop services and international services at D/FW Airport could result. This situation could reduce the attractiveness and competitive advantage the metroplex area currently enjoys for new and expanded business and economic development. Loss of direct employment on the airport could occur.

The FEIS says wayports would have limited sources of operating revenue but FAA has never made in-depth studies to address this issue. Both Charlotte and Cincinnati had over 80% connections with less than 20% O&D. Both were successful until the airlines decided to consolidate connections and eliminate or reduce hubs to be competitive with low cost and regional airlines. If the airlines can close hubs at Pittsburgh and St. Louis, reduce connections at DFW, Charlotte and Cincinnati they can do this at O"Hare, Atlanta and other hubs to reduce noise, air pollution and ground congestion that emits pollution the same as aircraft congestion.  Where did the airlines relocate connections that were done at St. Louis and Pittsburgh? It appears to be Chicago and Philadelphia. Most large hubs like Atlanta have over 65% connections. Wayports would have the same source of revenues such as landing fees, terminal leases and concessions that existing connecting airports have but would need less operating revenue because they have less total enplanements when opened. Wayports could create new Airport Cities giving less taxes, better schools, less congestion, less crime among other benefits. Rail systems would provide access from urban areas. FAA's assertion about revenues is further contradicted by the statements in the FEIS that "wayports would likely contribute to growth in the vicinity of the wayport and that wayports would seek all kinds of revenue producing activities”.Revenue activities would include cargo, general aviation, commercial space program and commercial development of wayport property since a wayport would own thousands of acres of buffer land that is compatible with noise and land use programs. Growth can easily be managed at new sites in undeveloped areas. Through the fence access by developers is now possible. Other pages on this website need to be read to get the full understanding of wayports.

The FEIS says wayports would be difficult to administerwhich is not further defined. A wayport would have the same activities and management requirements  as any other airport. In fact, it would be easier to administer a wayport since it would not be faced with all the opposition and access problems that inner city airports put up with.